In April 2016, more than 80 persons attended a Town Hall meeting on opioids organized by Gastonia City Councilman Robert Kellogg. The concern of the participants and the conversation they generated demonstrated a clear need for organized follow-up.
Within weeks, the Gaston Community Healthcare Commission, a program of Gaston Together, established what is now the Gaston Controlled Substance Coalition. That summer, leadership held a meeting with providers and the first Coalition meeting, established Coalition guidelines, elected a chairperson, formed three committees, and began planning a continuing medical education program we held in October 2016.
We began by addressing the issues of opioid prescribing. Later, we realized we’d used a Ready, Fire, Aim approach and followed the concepts of collective impact by:
- Encouraging organizations to join the Coalition to work together and do what no single organization could do alone.
- Securing participation from leaders in the fields of medicine, behavioral health, education, emergency medical services, law enforcement, business, government, public health, the faith community, and persons living with and affected by Opioid Use Disorder.
- Collaborating with stakeholders to design, fund, and conduct comprehensive programs.
- Sharing member organizations’ programs and successes to inspire innovative programming in other organizations.
- Through this
processthe Coalition generates new understandings about Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), identifies hidden needs, creates comprehensive prevention and treatment programs to fill service gaps, encourages agencies to establish new programs, builds interagencyunderstanding of community resources, and builds consensus on Gaston County’s approach to addressing opioids. With this forwardwe continue to expand membership, address the needs of new sectors, and take on new priorities to fight the incidence and stigma of OUD. This includes collaborating on the County Manager’s Opioid Summit, establishing an Opioid Overdose Response Team, creating a program to help businesses address employee opioid issues with understanding and compassion, conducting the Faith and Opioids program so clergy and lay leaders can help congregants who are impacted by OUD, and by providing community naloxone education and training. thinking
Vision statement 2025
Gaston County is a community that understands opioid use disorder (OUD) without stigma. It works to:
- Prevent OUD through responsible prescribing;
- Provide education to empower parents, teachers, businesses, houses of worship, and civic organizations to educate loved ones, students, employees, and members about opioid prevention and treatment; and,
- Help affected persons secure the support they need to sustain long-term recovery.
The Gaston Controlled Substances Coalition plays a central role in fulfilling this vision by convening community stakeholders to work together to build effective and accessible programs. The result is a significant drop in opioid-related deaths, incarcerations, and communicable diseases caused by intravenous drug use when compared to 2016.
The mission of the Gaston Controlled Substances Coalition is to engage professionals, lay leaders, and opioid-impacted persons to collaboratively inspire, develop, and conduct stigma-free programs that:
- Prevent the onset of addiction to controlled substances
- Assure the adoption of safe opioid prescribing practices
Assure the delivery of comprehensive drug treatment and mental health services for persons in need.
Engaging, by actively seeking the opinions, suggestions, and criticisms of professional and community stakeholders on our work with the opioid crisis.
Collaborative, by working with community and professional stakeholders to assure we develop and encourage others to develop appropriate and well-designed opioid prevention and treatment programs.
Transparent, by doing our work openly we will avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest.
Comprehensive, by engaging persons affected by opioid use disorder (OUD), and community and professional leaders we promote effective collaboration communication, and effective programs.
Evaluative, by continually determining if our work is successful and by using our findings to improve our processes and programs.
Preventive, by addressing risk factors that cause drug dependence and by developing protective factors that produce effective avoidance and education program outcomes.
Reducing Harm, by encouraging persons with OUD to use resources that protect them from preventable disease.
Neutral, by taking a community-first approach in all of our activities.
Non-punitive, by helping employers, courts, and other organizations to adopt policies and programs that support recovery and help people with OUD to achieve wellbeing.
Respectful, by honoring the humanity of persons affected by OUD and helping dismantle the stigma that surrounds this issue.
Accepting, by encouraging prescribers and employers to accept the status of their patients and employees with OUD, without stigma, as they help them become
Empathic, by compassionately working with affected persons and their families to understand the many facets of OUD and its treatment.
Strategic, by investing our resources in programs and activities that will generate the strongest results in crucial sectors of our community.
Fair, by seeing all opioid epidemic stakeholders as equals and by understanding the factors that influence the onset of OUD.
Productive, by helping persons with OUD reach their potential as positively engaged and self-sufficient community members.
Accountable, by holding Coalition members and organizations responsible for high-quality programming, full engagement, and follow-up.